The Rubicon was a shallow river that served as a boundary between Rome and its provinces.
Roman law stated that a general was not allowed to enter Italy with his troops. Julius Caesar arrived on the Rubicon in January 49 B.C. with the 13th Legion. He had a decision to take. Should he cross the river and enter Italy and start a civil war, or disband his troops and enter Rome, which his enemies controlled, alone and unprotected?
Read the background materials below.
Now discuss and decide:
- What are Caesar’s options?
- What are the benefits and risks of each option, for Caesar, his enemies and Rome?
- What do you think he should decide to do? Why?
The Immediate Consequences
Now read about what happened when Caesar crossed the Rubicon.